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Observed dynamics of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws.) seedling recruitment in the Cascade Range, USA



Observed dynamics of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws.) seedling recruitment in the Cascade Range, USA



New Forests 34(1): 95-105



An observational study of early seedling establishment (first 1-2 summers after emergence) was conducted in four ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws.) stands east of the Cascade Range crest in central Oregon, USA. Newly emerged ponderosa pine seedlings were identified at the start of summer and were monitored through their second summer; a subsequent cohort of seedlings was identified and monitored for one summer. About 3% of the viable seed that was produced resulted in new seedlings. Mortality was substantial immediately following emergence. Most seedlings emerged without shading from understory vegetation, but few survived. Most seedlings alive after one year had emerged beneath live cover; by the end of two summers only shaded seedlings were alive. 63-85% of new seedlings initiated in clusters attributed to rodent caching, and seedlings originating in clusters remained a substantial proportion of the cohort (60%) after two seasons. Results suggest that understory vegetation in these types of stands facilitates the recruitment of ponderosa pine seedlings, most likely by buffering them against environmental stressors during the seedling establishment phase. They also reveal that seed caching rodents are highly active in seed redistribution and can exert a lasting influence on seedling recruitment.

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Accession: 013444708

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DOI: 10.1007/s11056-007-9041-z


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